There is a woman in our neighborhood who is attractive, but blind. I see her out on walks a lot with her guide dog. I often wonder how an interested fellow would go about chatting her up. (note, this is purely hypothetical, I’m not in the market for dates, although from a friendship standpoint it’s still valid). Normally when I meet someone I make some comment about something going on, or an object of interest. But it would seem that for someone who can’t see, the approach would have to be much more direct.
When I was in High School, the local school system had just started “mainstreaming” kids who would have otherwise been in special schools. This was mostly kids who were developmentally challenged, but also included a few sight or hearing impair kids. There were two kids, Kathy and Jim, who were in most of my high level classes. Kathy was the smartest kid in school, and ended up as our valedictorian. She was completely blind. Jim was legally blind and that actually seemed a bit more odd to us, as he could see but had to have his face less than an inch from the printed material in order to see it. Kathy was quiet but took notes via some sort of braille typying machine. No one ever talked to them. This may have been because they were different, but I think it was just as much just an awkward thing to strike up a conversation. There was never really an opening to do so.
For a while there was a deaf boy on my soccer teams. He was a decent athlete, but you couldn’t really yell to him that the ball was coming, which added an element of challenge. He was never really included as part of the team, in the sense that there was no way to make little jokes, rude comments about the coach, etc. I remember an episode of West Wing, where, iirc, Josh asks out Marlee Matlin’s character. But she had an interpreter, and she could read lips, so it wasn’t a huge obstacle, but it was still an obstacle. Likewise, the scenes with the Japanese girl in Babel were poignant to me because of the difficulties she faced in being accepted by regular boys.
Anyway, I’d appreciate any insight in how to go about including people like these instead of awkwardly ignoring them. Looking back now, it would seem obvious to have maybe made an effort with our soccer team to learn some basic signing skills, for example, but it was just not really thought of at the time.